MSN Messenger 7 Beta

posted on 2004-12-05 at 00:25:13 by Joel Ross

I installed the MSN Messenger 7 Beta Friday night. It works very well. I like some of the new features. The most noticeable is that a contact's icon shows in the notification window when they sign on. Also, if I had a tablet, I could write my IMs rather than typing - will there be a version for the Pocket PC that I can write on that?

I was excited about using Messenger to post to MSN Spaces, but it didn't turn out how I had hoped. I was hoping to have a special IM contact I would send a message to. Instead, it's a link that opens a window that I can blog from - and that doesn't work for me - it takes me to the "create a space" page. Last time I had a problem like this, it had to do with cookies, so maybe I'll try that.

So what would have been cool about IMing a blog entry? Well, using this, I could have blogged from the command line!

Anyway, the beta is very stable, and it works well with the beta of Messenger Plus.

Categories: Software


Scoble's New Book

posted on 2004-12-05 at 00:07:58 by Joel Ross

Robert Scoble is writing a book about corporate blogging - on his blog! Actually, he's reluctantly pulling Shel Israel along with him. They're working out all of the details on Robert's MSN Spaces blog. You can read the initial post about the book there too.

And when you're done there, go read Shel's blog. He's posting his responses there.

It looks like the plan is to do everything in the open - negotiate the deal amongst themselves, sell the book to a publisher on eBay, and write it. That means if you follow along, you'll have read the whole book - you may even be able to contribute! Robert, if you decide to let readers contribute, you should allow readers to choose what charity half the money you get will go to. (He said his profits will go to charity!).

This should be cool - everyone who's never written a book will get to see the process from an author's perspective. I'll probably never write a book, but if I ever do, reading about this will probably help.

Categories: General


Why A Blogging Policy Isn't Needed

posted on 2004-12-04 at 23:55:48 by Joel Ross

Ryan Farley talks about the value of blogging, both from a client's perspective and from a company's perspective. I've said the same thing before - who would you rather work with? A company you know nothing about, other than their prepared statement on their website, or a company where you can read information directly from the people working on your project?

Anyway, the main reason his post caught my attention is because he touches on a question I had when Sagestone started it's blog. What was the reason for having a blog, and what was allowed and what wasn't? Sagestone has no formal blogging policy. Reading this article, it dawned on me why one isn't necessary. How do you minimize the risks of blogging? Admit it - there are risks. Someone could post a client list or a CEO's phone number. Without a policy, what prevents someone from doing that? Ryan lays out how companies can mitigate that risk. He lists three things, but in essense, they all boil down to one:

Hire knowledgeable employees.

It really is that simple. If you have smart people working for you, they will protect you from the risks of blogging. They will provide helpful information for the community, and that will only help you win business, not lose it. No blogger is posting complete solutions to problems - they only demonstrate they have the knowledge to solve problems! And if they don't demonstrate that knowledge, then go back to the above rule - hire people who do demonstrate that!

Categories: Consulting


Week XIII NFL Picks

posted on 2004-12-04 at 01:07:46 by Joel Ross

I almost forgot to post these. Work has been, well, out of control lately, and things in my personal life have been slipping a little - including getting my picks up. So my first step is to get the picks posted - gotta have your priorities straight, right?

For what it's worth (nothing), here they are. Some descriptions may be abbreviated because of a need for sleep.

  • Houston vs. New York Jets (-7): But the Jets win. Houston will keep it close.
  • Cincinnati vs. Baltimore (-6.5): Baltimore was embarassed last week, and will be looking for revenge.
  • New England (-8) vs. Cleveland: Not sure why, but when I checked on Wednesday, the line was eight points. Now, it's off the boards. Did I miss something? I'll stick to the eight point line though.
  • Arizona vs. Detroit (-6): Detroit favored by 6. Unreal. I think they'll match it. It is Arizona!
  • Tennessee vs. Indianapolis (-11.5): Indy wins, but not by 12. Tennessee will keep it relatively close.
  • Minnesota (-7.5) vs. Chicago: Keeping up with the Jones' from Wisconsin isn't tough against Chicago.
  • Buffalo (-3.5) vs. Miami: Buffalo is on a roll lately.
  • Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay (-1.5): Someone explain to me how a 4-7 team is a favorite over a 9-2 team. I don't get it.
  • San Francisco vs. St. Louis (-10): I don't usually take a team if the line is 10 or more points, but then I remembered it was the 49ers.
  • Carolina vs. New Orleans (-1.5): If I'm right, and the Bucs lose, then the winner of this one will be in sole posession of 2nd place in the division - at 5-7!
  • Kansas City (-1) vs. Oakland: Another who cares game.
  • Denver vs. San Diego (-3): San Diego looks to extend it's division lead, and if Denver loses, they are still in a good spot for a wild card.
  • New York Giants vs. Washington (-2.5): The Giants have been awful lately, and the Redskins will take advantage of it.
  • Green Bay vs. Philadelphia (-6): Philly has been unstoppable, and Green Bay will have a tough time covering Owens. Or any reciever for that matter.
  • Pittsburgh (-3) vs. Jacksonville: Pittsburgh should roll through this one.
  • Dallas vs. Seattle (-7): Another stellar MNF match up! No wonder the next contract says they can change the games late in the season.

So there you have it. Glad I got this out of the way.

Categories: Football


Vault 3.0

posted on 2004-12-04 at 00:38:35 by Joel Ross

I touched briefly earlier on the release of Vault 3.0, and I did find out that the one free user still exists. That's awesome.

But even better than that is that you can host it at web host provider, such as WebHost4Life. Now, that's pretty cool. One of our struggles is finding a good place to host our source control (Tourney Logic, not the company I work for - we have plenty of servers there). Hosting it on a central server would be much better than the computer in my bedroom!

Categories: Software


Making My MSN Spaces Blog A Link Blog

posted on 2004-12-03 at 14:26:15 by Joel Ross

When Microsoft released Spaces, their new blogging service, I had to have one!

But then, already having three blogs, I wondered what I would do with it. Well, I figured it out. It's going to be a link blog.

MSN Spaces supports posting by email, and since I read all of my blogs through Outlook, I can pick entries, and forward them to the designated email address.

I'm not the only one doing it either. Sriram is doing the same thing.

It's going to be a full content link blog. If you don't want your stuff up there, or you see something you don't want up there, let me know and I will remove it and unsubscribe from your blog.

Categories: General


Week XII Picks Review

posted on 2004-12-02 at 00:47:04 by Joel Ross

I appear to be back on track. Maybe it was Cuban's announcement of his betting fund, or maybe I'm just getting lucky again. Who knows. Either way, this week was good to me.

  • Indianapolis 44 (-9.5), Detroit 9: Payton Manning and Marvin Harrison had a nice game of catch on Thansgiving. It's nice when you get a chance to do that. Did Detroit have their turkey before the game?
  • Chicago 7, Dallas 21 (-3.5): I was on the road during this one, driving back home, so I didn't get to see it., but I picked it!
  • Baltimore 3, New England 24 (-7): I never figured this one to be a blow out. I thought Baltimore's defense was a lot better than this.
  • Philadelphia 27 (-7), New York Giants 6: Philly continues to roll. I guess T.O. can make that much of a difference. You can see what it's done for the 49ers!
  • Washington 7, Pittsburgh 16 (-10.5): It's looking more and more like an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl. I picked Pittsburgh to win, but as the Ross Code of spreads proves once again, 10 points or more is too much.
  • Cleveland 48, Cincinnati 58 (-6): The highest scoring game since the NFL merged in the '60s. I'm sure it was exciting, but no channels carried that game around here. I love the contracts the networks have signed with the NFL. "There's a very exciting, high scoring game going on, but we're going to stick with this boring blowout." Awesome choice, guys. Maybe you could help me work out a contract someday.
  • Jacksonville 16, Minnesota 27 (-5.5): Who thought two fourth quarter fumbles would decide the game, both would be on key drives, and both would be by the quarterback?
  • Tampa Bay 14 (-2.5), Carolina 21: Tampa Bay could have been tied for a playoff spot with a win, but they couldn't pull it out. The surprising part about that. Tampa Bay would have been 5-6! And at 4-7, they aren't out of it.
  • San Diego 34, Kansas City 31 (-3): Drew Brees is putting together a "give me a big contract" year. He's a free agent - think there'll be interest?
  • Tennessee 21 (-1.5), Houston 31: Ouch. Tennessee is now below Houston in the standings. That's gotta suck. Houston's only problem? 5-6 isn't even close to a playoff spot in the AFC.
  • New Orleans 21, Altanta 24 (-9.5): Not quite a ten point win is it? But it is a win, and they pretty much clinch a division title. Oh yeah. The Eagles actually did this week.
  • New York Jets 13 (-3), Arizona 3: It's too bad the Jets are in the same division as the Patriots. They'd be in first place in 4 of the other 7 divisions in the NFL. And they actually play defense pretty well, which gives them an advantage over a couple of the other AFC division leaders (including their own division leader).
  • Buffalo 38, Seattle 9 (-5.5): How lucky do the Seahawks feel right now? They are 6-5, and leading the division. Now, that's a pathetic division.
  • Miami 24, San Francisco 17 (-1): Maimi keeps it's playoff hopes alive! Now, they just need everyone else to lose every game. Meanwhile, the 49ers still have a shot at overtaking Seattle! Not that either will happen, but they could!
  • Oakland 25, Denver 24 (-11): 11 points in the snow? Never going to happen. And Oakland actually looked like they were playing with heart!
  • St. Louis 17, Green Bay 45 (-6.5): This was close for a while. Then Green Bay took over. Next week should be interesting (when they play Minnesota).

Here's how I'm doing this year.

This week Season
Against the spread 10 - 6 (62.5%) 88 - 83 (51.5%)
Head to head 11 - 5 (68.8%) 104 - 72 (59.1%)

For the record, I would like to get above 53% against the spread, and above 60% picking winners.

Week 13 spreads are coming in slowly. Once they are all there, I'll post my picks for next week.

Categories: Football


Quick NAnt Introduction

posted on 2004-12-01 at 23:56:06 by Joel Ross

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but never got around to it, so when I saw this on 4 Guys, I thought I'd just link to it. It'll save me some time.

Anyway, here's a nice introduction to NAnt. There's a lot more you can do with NAnt, but this is a nice start that'll give you the idea of how to do the basics. If you want ideas of some more complicated things you can do, take a look at NAnts own build file. It is a wealth of information and examples.

Categories: Software


Url Rewriting Using Regular Expressions

posted on 2004-12-01 at 23:51:05 by Joel Ross

This is a little old, but Fabrice modified Fritz Onion's HttpModule for URL rewriting to use regular expressions.

Then, in Fabrice's comments, someone mentioned the idea of writing the config settings to an XML file, which can be generated from a database. Now you get regular expression-enabled rewriting, and a database driven method to modify the rewriting. Now that's pretty cool.

We recently expanded our rewriting to look for certain patterns, and redirect to a standard page passing in certain parameters to determine what content should be on the page. We could have used this! The way we did it works just fine, and allows for adding pages to the site to be dynamic, which will be a nice feature our client will have when we go live, but this approach would probably have been an easier one to implement.

Categories: ASP.NET


MSN Spaces Is Live

posted on 2004-12-01 at 23:40:38 by Joel Ross

It looks like Microsoft has released MSN Spaces, it's answer to Google's blogger. I signed up, just to see what it's all about. It does have a few cool features. It's full content RSS feeds are nice, as is the photo album, but the coolest feature is blogging by email.

My first post was via email, so it works! Now I'll have to either find or create a plug-in for my blogging tool that can send items by email, and be configurable for what email address it comes from and what email address it goes to. Then I could also post to my Spaces blog at the same time as I post to all of my blogs.

For those interested, my Spaces blog is located at I'll probably try out a few of it's features over the next few days and see how it works.

Categories: Blogging


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